NINE ELEVEN By David Hatchet 2001


A quiet calm, a staggering blast, an excited primal shock jostles my inner balance. Punctured hearts flood the emotion gates in disbelief. We begin our workweek business as usual maybe, but we wait for what will come next and take nothing for granted, each step an uncertain future. The bright orange blast, the billowing black and orange against the late summer blue, the moment before the moment after and screams of incineration leaping from a hundred stories, towering universes stacked, reshuffled to pull fate from below the top card dancing across the table.


We hear the voice of our leaders' trance as Air Force One dodges hijacked planes in the air over DC and Virginia. Mid America is sad and outraged and calling for the extermination of bad guys while the good guys fall through the funnel of collapsing twin towers that once scraped the blue sky clean just a moment of silence before the tail of a low flying jumbo jet reflected in the window across the street then shook our windows, shuddered our souls with the sirens of agony and the sadness of closure on so many lives leaving the children of insecurity. They say this is real, well so was the moment before the bubble burst.


The markets call for calm and 'wait and see'. Futures crack over malls gone nuts for burgers and designer jeans, corporate dining and sawed off catering to the masters of finance who search the globe for profit. Through the toxic cloud I pray to God in disbelief that I am protected behind my paper mask and dark sunglasses. The smoldering fire below the twisted metal, the pile of death and aesthetic decay, the silent screams, the bliss of acceptance, the rising souls let go and watch the desperate sorrow and joy of love fomenting below, a tower more powerful than steel and bombs and money and art and free trade and profits and cheap exploitation in the guise of intelligence, inequity as an institution, winners with losers asleep in cardboard boxes outside my window, piles of promise before the open door of awaking and each day I rise to see the dream cascading down to sirens and earth movers and police and soldiers and fighter jets and war strategists and economic speculation about consumer confidence with racist attacks by ugly minds who know nothing of what happened, who lashing out at anyone who looks foreign, find themselves alone in their hall of horrors, mirrored only by the enclosed cocoon of self delusion, unable to comprehend and therefore accept what war means.


A man asks me why I am wearing a mask, "Asbestos?" I say it is 'my health, my breath is tenuous,' and he just stares at me with a mock intelligence, an affect inherited from the time before the towers fell, mashing life to dust in a flash, loosing DNA particulates to the air we breath, mixing death with the inorganic, the non living material stew, the entropy of progress, the pulverized past, the fear of rebirth while standing on the cusp of the abyss. I look into his eyes and I see his treachery, his willingness to make his stand, to insist on breathing the unnatural material stew as a patriotic duty, as an affirmation of the unquestioning belief in what our leaders tell us is true.


Lily sleeps into the afternoon, tucked away in the quiet of her sheets, her pillow, her safety, her innocence, her unfathomable depths that seek to sort through and assimilate the new landscape and how she can fit into that which has not yet assembled a new order, an arrangement that is in flux where the ground is unsure and faith maybe the only ground on which to stand and watch the universe unfold a future more complex than the intricate patterns laced together a moment before the towers fell.


The flip master dropped the world on its ear, a sneak attack on every subliminal presence. We evoke our innocence in our disbelief. We want the film to end so we can exit the building, but glued to the screen, this could roll by forever. Deep down I stuff it in some basement where collapsing walls threaten to undermine the integrity of positions held solid through run away billions lifted from the cookie jar and taking turns we dip into the pail and feast, then we pay our taxes withholding our comments while those in our name barge through remote regions looking for cheaper labor and exploit the planet and all those on it to bring home more toys to redecorate. Immobilized, the search continues for the chance to score from our homes, our offices, by phone, the homerun by remote, by waldo we will extract our profits from the other side where protest is met with violence and our national indignation shelters us from recognition of any responsibility for mayhem when terror strikes back. Justification is rationalization of the fact that existence through action stands with or without our ability to comprehend the magnitude of the moment.